The College of Veterinary Medicine here at ISU has a long and storied history. It the first state-funded veterinary school in the United States and continues to be a well-regarded college 136 years after its founding. It has been headquartered at multiple locations on the ISU campus and it’s current home was built just south of campus in 1976. A great deal of information on this “new” facility is available in the recently processed College of Veterinary Medicine Administrative Records, RS 14/1/8, along with general administrative correspondence, committee minutes and reports, annual reports, accreditation records, awards given out by the college, and materials regarding brucellosis.

The first building to house the vet school was South Hall in 1879. In 1881, it moved to North Hall, and in 1885 relocated to the Sanitary Building (Cranford Hall), now the site of the Memorial Union. The school’s headquarters moved to Old Agricultural Hall (now Catt Hall) in 1893 and remained there until 1912, when the Veterinary Quadrangle (now Lagomarcino Hall) was completed. The Quadrangle consisted of four buildings with a courtyard in the middle. A fifth building to the north was expanded into the Stange Memorial Clinic in 1938, now Industrial II. In 1956, the Veterinary Diagnostic Building was completed. However, by the 1950s, the Division of Veterinary Medicine, as it was known at the time, was outgrowing its facilities. It wasn’t long before plans were being made to create a new complex for what would become the College of Veterinary Medicine.

One of four sketches of plans for Physiology Administration, 1969. RS 4/1/8, map case.

One of four sketches of plans for Physiology Administration, 1969. RS 4/1/8, map case.

An early 1960s proposal entitled “Proposal for New Veterinary Medical Facilities”  (Box 26, Folder 1), outlines reasons and proposed plans for a new complex for the College of Veterinary Medicine. According to the proposal, demand for veterinarians was at the highest it had ever been at that point, and was about 3 or 4 times the supply and their was a “critical need for more veterinarians in Iowa.” Teaching facilities at the time were inadequate, and enrollment was projected to increase, the combination of which would put the college’s accreditation at risk. It pointed out that previous reports indicated that $10 million would be needed for the remodel of its established facilities and predicted that new facilities could be built for the same price. This would free up the Quadrangle for use by other colleges on campus.

It was proposed that the new facilities be built just north of the existing Veterinary Medicine Research Institute near Highway 30, and highlighted the many advantages of this location. These included proximity to existing research facilities and the nearness of Highway 30, which would better enable vets to get out to the country for emergency visits and would be more accessible to out-of-town clients. The only disadvantages addressed were the physical separation of Vet Med from other teaching facilities, isolation from the library, and the possible hindrance of interdisciplinary efforts.

Ultimately, it was concluded that the college would eventually be removed from campus. As we know, new facilities were indeed built in the proposed area. The disadvantage of the distance of the campus library was remedied by establishing the Veterinary Medicine Library at the new complex, plans for which can be found in Box 26, Folder 8. Plans for improving the Vet Med facilities evolved over the course of the 1960s, and many, many grant applications were submitted over the years, which are also in this collection.

Program for the dedication of the new facilities for the College of Veterinary Medicine, 1976. RS 4/1/8, Box 34, Folder 3.

Program for the dedication of the new facilities for the College of Veterinary Medicine, 1976. RS 4/1/8, Box 34, Folder 3.

After years of planning and securing funds, the College of Veterinary Medicine complex was completed in 1976 for $25.6 million – a notably higher price tag than initially proposed. The dedication ceremony was held on October 16, 1976 in conjunction with an academic symposium on October 15th. George C. Christensen (Vice President for Academic Affairs and former Dean of the College of Veterinary Medicine) presided over the ceremony, with speeches given by Durwood L. Baker (Associate Dean, College of Veterinary Medicine), Frank K. Ramsey (Distinguished Professor, Veterinary Pathology), Mary Louise Petersen (President, State Board of Regents), and W. Robert Parks (President of Iowa State University). Philip T. Pearson (Dean, College of Veterinary Medicine), gave the acceptance speech. A map of the Vet Med complex today can be viewed here.

For more information, please come in and look through this collection and any of our other Vet Med collections. We’d love to see you!

Posted by: Kim | March 3, 2015

CyPix: The Vulnerable Greater Prairie Chicken

Today (March 3rd) is World Wildlife Day – a day in which we can “celebrate the many beautiful and varied forms of wild fauna and flora, recall the privileged interactions between wildlife and populations across the globe, and raise awareness of the urgent need to step up the fight against wildlife crime, which has wide-ranging economic, environmental and social impacts.” (UN General Assembly)

March 3rd was selected in honor of the adoption of CITES, the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species. The goal of CITES is to ensure that international trade in wild animals and plants does not threaten the species’ survival.

Greater Prairie Chicken sighted in Cherokee County, Iowa in 1994. (MS 166, box 9)

Greater Prairie Chicken sighted in Cherokee County, Iowa, in 1994. (MS 166, box 9)

This is an image of a Greater Prairie Chicken collected by the Iowa Ornithologists Union (IOU) Records Committee. The males of the species are known as “boomers” because of the booming call they make. The birds have an area, known as a lek, where the males gather to dance and “boom.” The collection (MS 166) documents the committee’s work in acquiring reports of bird sightings around the state and assessing the validity of the submitter’s identification of the species. Six Greater Prairie Chicken sightings were reported to the IOU in 1994. Prior to these sightings, only 10 or so Greater Prairie Chickens had been seen since 1960.

Greater Prairie Chickens (Tympanuchus cupido) were once abundant in Iowa, but per the Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR) their numbers declined due to habitat loss and market hunting. Should you see one, the DNR would like to hear from you!  The Greater Prairie Chicken is listed in CITES Appendix II – “species not necessarily threatened with extinction, but in which trade must be controlled in order to avoid utilization incompatible with their survival.”  It is listed as “vulnerable” in the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List.

Aside from the IOU records (MS 166), Special Collections has many collections with ornithology content. We also have collections on natural history and the environment. You can also search for “birds” here to check for words in our manuscript finding aids. The papers of Walter M. Rosene, Sr., one of the founders of the IOU, are also available (MS 589) and we’ve posted previously on Frederick Leopold’s papers (MS 113).

The next time you’re outside, see if you can spot some local wildlife. If being indoors is more to your liking, come on over to Special Collections where you can view field notes, reports, and images of birds and other wildlife.

Audubon Birds of America_plate28

Snowy Owls from John James Audubon’s Birds of America, 1840 (call number QL674, Volume 1, plate 28)

We are pleased to announce that next week we will be holding a special event showcasing a number of our natural history texts.  This is one of several Center for Excellence in the Arts and Humanities events being held this year.  Matthew Sivils, associate professor of English and the 2015 CEAH Fellow in the Arts and Humanities, will provide a brief overview of the texts which will be displayed, which includes works by influential eighteenth- and nineteenth-century naturalists such as Mark Catesby and John James Audubon.

You can find details on this event and others on the Center for Excellence in the Arts and Humanities website:

The seeds of America’s environmental identity were first planted by a handful of eighteenth- and early nineteenth-century naturalist-explorers. These naturalists—who were as much artists and poets as scientists—made it their mission to discover, record, and share North America’s natural diversity. These volumes, published by figures such as Mark Catesby, Alexander Wilson, and John James Audubon, contain powerful descriptions and stunning illustrations of the plants and animals that would come to define the land. Professor Sivils will provide a brief overview of some of the most influential of these texts, followed by a viewing of rare natural history volumes housed in the ISU Library’s Department of Special Collections.

Professor Sivils will give his talk in the 405 classroom adjacent to the Special Collections Department.  Following his presentation, there will be an opportunity to view a selection of our natural history texts in the Special Collections Reading Room.

“Early Natural History Texts: The Roots of American Environmentalism”
March 4, 7:00–8:00 p.m., Special Collections Department, Parks Library

Below is a sampling of what you will see if you’re able to attend the event next Wednesday:

The Aurelian. A natural history of English moths and butterflies, together with the plants on which they feed. Also a faithful account of their respective changes, their usual haunts when in the winged state, and their standard names as established by the Society of Aurelians. / Drawn engraved and coloured from the natural subjects. By Moses Harris. 1766. (QL542.4 H242a)

The Aurelian, 1766 (call number QL542.4 H242a)

The full title of the book pictured above is:  The Aurelian: A natural history of English moths and butterflies, together with the plants on which they feed. Also a faithful account of their respective changes, their usual haunts when in the winged state, and their standard names as established by the Society of Aurelians. / Drawn engraved and coloured from the natural subjects. By Moses Harris, 1766.  (Wondering what “aurelian” means?  It’s an older world for lepidopterist.  A lepidopterist studies or collects butterflies and moths.)

historia stirpium-pg52

De historia stirpium commentarii insignes… by Leonard Fuchs, 1542 (call number QK41 .F951d)

The “De Historia Stirpium, or Notable commentaries on the history of plants, contains 497 descriptions in Latin of plants, with woodcuts based on first-hand observation.  Early herbals often contained depictions of plants which were not based on actual specimens, but on depictions from other books.  As a result, these illustrations were often inaccurate.  The De Historia Stirpium was the first herbal to illustrate native plants from the Americas.  More on Leonhart Fuchs’ herbals can be found in our online exhibit.

We are looking forward to next week’s event (March 4, 7-8pm), and hope we will see you there!

Posted by: Kim | February 24, 2015

CyPix: a Fire, a Ram, and a Tradition

Have you heard the story of the Old Main fires? Instead of the large campus we have now, the university (then the Iowa Agricultural College and Model Farm) was housed entirely in a single building, “Old Main.” Old Main stood where Beardshear is now. Old Main proved to be much less sturdy than Beardshear – it lasted only 34 years. First it was damaged by a tornado (1882), followed by a fire (1900) that destroyed the north wing and caused extensive damage to the rest of the building. Two years later a fire ravaged the remainder of the structure and Old Main was completely destroyed (1902).

Arloe Paul ('33) passes on the ram's head to Jerry Ladman ('58). (RS 21/7/1, Arloe Paul)

Arloe Paul (’33) passes on the ram’s head to Jerry Ladman (’58). (RS 21/7/1)

But, students turned this tragedy into an opportunity for a new tradition. The image above depicts Class President of 1933, Arloe Paul, presenting Class President of 1958, Jerry Ladman, with a metal ram’s head. The head is purported to be architectural salvage from one of the fires in Old Main. The story is that it was rescued by Dean Edgar Stanton and O. H. Cessna (both class of 1872). The passage of the head every 25 years has become a campus tradition that continues to this day. It is next due to be passed from the class of 2008 to the class of 2033.

To learn about other campus traditions, check out the following:

  • Campus Traditions (RS 00/16)
  • Memorials and Traditions Committee (RS 08/06/061)
  • VEISHEA (Record group RS 22/12)

Of course, you’re always welcome to stop by and see us or get in touch!

Posted by: bkuennen | February 20, 2015

WOI-TV Celebrates 65 Years of Programming

On February 21, 1950, WOI-TV broadcast its first programming from the campus of Iowa State College. Originally licensed to operate as Channel 4, WOI was the nation’s first educational television station and, until 1954, central Iowa’s only television station. In the spirit of the Extension tradition, Iowa State intended to use the station to explore how television could revolutionize adult education and bring new learning opportunities to high school students across the state. The station programmers knew that they faced several challenges by focusing on educational programming. A report published two months after the station was on the air identified that one of the greatest challenges the station faced was “to prove that farming and homemaking telecasts can be interesting and entertaining and at the same time be educational.”

Portrait of Ed Wegner, host of the WOI-TV program "Televisits" (RS 5/6/6)

Ed Wegner, host of the WOI-TV program “Televisits” (RS 5/6/6, box 1, folder 12)

One of the early successes of the station occurred in 1951 with the acquisition of a $260,000 grant from the Ford Foundation’s Fund for Adult Education. This money allowed WOI to produce a series of public affairs programs titled “The Whole Town’s Talking.” These programs looked at issues affecting central Iowans and illustrated how the community members debated matters such as school consolidation, community infrastructure projects, and juvenile delinquency. This award-winning series was directed and produced by Charles Guggenheim, who later in his career would direct a number of Academy Award-winning documentaries and become a media advisor for several presidential campaigns including Robert Kennedy’s.

The Whole Town's Talking

Scene from the set of an episode of “The Whole Town’s Talking,” circa 1952 (RS 5/6/6, box 1, folder 13)

When the University sold WOI-TV to Capital Communications Company in 1994, the University Archives acquired the paper records of the television station along with thousands of 16mm films and videotapes. These films offer a glimpse of what local television programming was like in the 1950s and some of these films have been digitized and are available on our YouTube channel. You can judge for yourself how successful the station was at providing educational programming that was both interesting and entertaining!

The Whole Town’s Talking – Cambridge

More resources are available in Special Collections (of course!)

  • A complete list of WOI-TV programs available for viewing in Special Collections can be seen here. WOI-TV 16mm film listing
  • Finding aids for our archival collections related to WOI Radio and Television can be found on our website. Finding Aids

If you see anything of interest, contact us, or better yet stop in and see us!

Posted by: bishopae | February 17, 2015

CyPix: Rising to the sky–Marston Water Tower

Completed Marston Water Tower, in 1897, showing Morrill Hall on the right and Margaret Hall on the left.

Marston Water Tower,  1897, showing Morrill Hall on the right and Margaret Hall on the left.

The steel pointed top of the Marston Water Tower rising above campus is one the ISU campus landmarks, and it has an interesting history. It was designed by Anson Marston, Professor and Head (1892-1917) of the Department of Civil Engineering. 1894 saw a water shortage on campus so severe that classes had to be cancelled. The following year, the college decided to build a water tower. It was the first elevated steel water tower west of the Mississippi. It stands 168 feet tall, while the tank itself is  40 feet tall and 24 feet in diameter, holding 162,000 gallons. In 1978, the university became part of the city of Ames’ water system, and Marston Water Tower was no longer used. In 1981, it was placed on the National Register of Historic Places, and in 1987 it was restored. In 2007,  the American Water Works Association named the Marston Water Tower an “American Water Landmark.”

Watch the tower rise above campus in this series of construction photographs from 1897.

The beginning of construction of Marston Water Tower, showing Old Main in the background, March 9, 1897.

The beginning of construction of Marston Water Tower, showing Old Main in the background, March 9, 1897.

First stage of construction completed, March 18, 1897. Old Main is on the left, the Chemical and Physical Laboratory is on the right.

First stage of construction completed, March 18, 1897. Old Main is on the left, the Chemical and Physical Laboratory is on the right.

Progress on the water tower, March 22, 1897.

Progress on the water tower, March 22, 1897.

Construction begins on tank itself, April 22, 1897.

Construction begins on tank itself, April 22, 1897.

Construction nearly completed on the water tower, July 6, 1897.

Construction nearly completed on the water tower, July 6, 1897.

It’s African-American History Month and it’s past time that we featured Frederick Douglas Patterson (’23 and ’27) – an alumnus who had a significant and continuing impact on educational funding and college attainment. He is most known for his work with the Tuskegee Institute (now University) and as the founder of the United Negro College Fund (now UNCF).

Portrait of Frederick D. Patterson (RS 21/7/19)

Portrait of Frederick D. Patterson (RS 21/7/19)

Read More…

Posted by: bishopae | February 10, 2015

CyPix: student vaudeville

Vaudeville is a type of theatrical entertainment consisting of variety acts that was popular in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Student-produced vaudeville shows were popular at Iowa State during that same time period, such as the one shown in the photograph below.

Student vaudeville performance, 1926. Photograph Collection, box 1669.

Student vaudeville performance, 1926. Photograph Collection, box 1669.

This is from the college’s fourth-annual student vaudeville performance in 1926, called “Going Down.” It followed the round-the-world flight of a high-powered plane, “Daphne,” which visited Alaska, the Indonesian island of Java, and Cairo in Egypt, before finally ending in Spiritland. It featured a ballet and several other musical and dance numbers along the way.

The performance was a hit. According to the 1926 Bomb, the ISU yearbook which was published from 1893 to 1993, the show played to capacity houses for each of its two performances. It raved, “‘Going Down’ has been acclaimed the greatest student vaudeville staged at Iowa State College.”

To browse through copies of the Bomb, or to learn more about student activities throughout ISU history, stop by Special Collections!

The Conchologist's First Book... (QL405 P752c)

The Conchologist’s First Book… (QL405 P752c)

In preparing for an event taking place next month which will showcase our natural history texts, I had the opportunity to find out about a book I had no idea we held:  The Conchologist’s First Book:  or a system of testaceous malacology, arranged expressly for the use of schools…, by Edgar Allan Poe.  I was a little surprised to learn that Poe had published far outside of the genres of detective stories and science fiction for which he is well-known!  The Conchologist’s First Book has an intriguing story all its own, and sold more copies during Poe’s lifetime than any of his other publications.

The author of a book on shells had asked Poe to put together a less expensive version of his own book.  As editor, translator, and arranger of the requested version, Poe made a number of contributions.  He did not follow more traditional ways of arranging the illustrations of the shells, but rather decided to organize the shells from the simplest to the most complex.  This was done before Charles Darwin had published his theories on evolution.  The publisher of the original book would not allow the author’s name to be on the book in fear that it would reduce the sales of the original, and therefore Poe’s name was used for the first three editions.  Curious to learn more?  The Museum of Edgar Allan Poe has an interesting description here.  This was not the only book which provides us with Poe’s scientific thinking. For his final book, Eureka, Poe writes a prose poem containing his ideas on the nature and origin of the universe.

The Special Collections Department holds a few other books related to Edgar Allan Poe, including the one pictured above (PS2631 M6 1885).

The Special Collections Department holds a few other books related to Edgar Allan Poe, including the one pictured above (PS2631 M6 1885).

Interested in seeing our first edition copy of The Conchologist’s First Book (QL405.P752c)? Please feel free to visit us on the fourth floor of Parks Library (M-F, 10-4).  We also have a few other books related to Poe (including an 1885 copy of A Defense of Edgar Allan Poe. Life, Character and Dying Declarations of the Poet. An Official Account of His Death), and a variety of books on conchology and shells.  This includes Thomas Brown’s The Conchologist’s Text Book (QL403 .B81c), which the original author of Poe’s textbook had based his book.

conchological manual

A Conchological Manual, by G. B. Sowerby, junior (QL406 So93c)

 

 
Posted by: Whitney | February 3, 2015

CyPix: Morrill Hall Library

Ever wonder what the ISU Library was like in the early days? Well, I’m about to shed some light on that mystery with the photo below.

Morrill Hall Library, circa 1910. The library resided here from 1891 to 1914, then was relocated to Beardshear Hall.

Morrill Hall Library, circa 1910. The library resided here from 1891 to 1914, then was relocated to Beardshear Hall. (University Photographs, 4/8/H, box 157)

Originally, the Library was located in Old Main. In 1891, it was moved to Morrill Hall, where it resided on the first floor, south of the central stairway. In 1914, it was relocated to Beardshear Hall, and the Agricultural Extension Offices and Document Room took its place in Morrill. Construction of the Library’s very own building began in 1923. It was dedicated in 1925, and is still there today. Of course, it looks quite a bit different now due to renovations and additions.

This information and more can be found in our online exhibits, Morrill Hall: A Brief History and From Prairie Sod to Campus Cornerstones: Building Our Campus History. Also have a look at RS 4/8/4, Buildings and Grounds Records, for more information on the buildings in which the Library has resided. The photo above can be found on our Flickr site along with other library photos!

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